Former Pa. tax collector facing hundreds of charges

November 19, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

MERCERSBURG - Pennsylvania State Police, acting on complaints from 109 area businesses and residents in a case involving more than $220,000, charged a former Mercersburg tax collector with more than 300 theft, tax and bad check counts, according to District Court records Monday.

Police said Sharon Lee Selser, 45, of 245 N. Main St., has been under investigation for more than a year.

Selser, a notary public, processed vehicle registrations, titles and taxes for residents and businesses as Selser's Business Services at 307 N. Main St.

There was no connection in any of the charges on file in District Justice David E. Hawbaker's office to her former job as Mercersburg's tax collector.


Selser was arraigned by Hawbaker Monday and released on a personal recognizance bond.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. in Franklin County Central Court in Chambersburg, Pa., court officials said.

Trooper Ronald Taylor, the investigating officer, charged Selser with 109 counts each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

According to Taylor, Selser was paid more than $220,000 from the 109 victims but failed to send the money into the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and other agencies.

Selser is also charged with 107 counts of violating the tax reform codes for allegedly failing to send taxes paid to her, Taylor said.

She is charged with sending 53 bad checks totaling $60,655.20 to PennDOT.

Taylor said Selser sent paperwork to PennDOT amounting to $39,037.58, but never sent the money in that went with the paperwork.

The investigation covered the period from July 3, 2001, through April, 18, 2002, court records said.

A list of the victims' names is included in the charging documents.

Some individuals paid $1,500 or more to Selser and some businesses more than $7,000 and $8,000, court records said.

Selser, who lost her bid for re-election last year, was charged by Mercersburg police in September with three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

Those charges stemmed from a complaint from the owner of an area trucking company, who said he wrote three checks to Selser's business for nearly $2,900 between January 2000 and July 2001 to obtain various permits, court records said.

The checks were cashed but PennDOT was never paid for the permits, court records said.

The trucking firm owner said he never received any paperwork and has had to pay fines and penalties, according to court records.

Last year, Selser paid a $1,000 fine for failing to keep accurate records at her business, according to court records.

Sales transaction paperwork was incomplete and disorganized, according to the charging documents.

Motor vehicle forms were not chronologically organized and other paperwork was not sent to PennDOT within the required five days, charging documents said.

Richard Nelson, a retired Mercersburg mail carrier beat Selser for the tax collector's job on a write-in vote in November 2001.

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